The day at the National Park was surprisingly fun for Nathan and the others. After their breakfast, the tour guide led them through the National Forest as well as many of the waterfalls and animal habitats. With Jasmine under his arm and Chace by his side Nathan felt great. He felt as if life couldn’t get any better than what it was now. As they came up to their last destination before the big survival game Nathan took his camera out of his pocket and began taking more photos.
As he took the pictures he motioned for Chace, David, and Jasmine to pose for him. Chace and David were first to pose in front of the giant trees that were guarded by a log fence. Jasmine went after them, posing like she was a model in a photo shoot. Nathan snapped the last picture and looked at the screen to examine it. His eyebrows went low with concern as studied the picture.
Within the background of the picture, towards the trees behind Jasmine, it looked as if there was a shadow hiding behind one of the trees…
“So how do I look?” Jasmine asked as she stretched her neck to see the screen. “Flawless as always.” She said with a nonchalant look. She placed her hands on her hips and looked into the sky as if she was some higher up who was always pretty. Chace and David had gone to rejoin the group that was down at the bottom of the hill. She looked out the corner of her eye to see if Nathan was catching on to the joke but he was still focused on the picture.
“Hey! Why stare at a picture when you have the real thing right here?” She asked as she lightly punched his arm. Nathan looked up startled for a moment and gave her a quick smile.
“I’m sorry.” He said. “It’s just something about this picture that doesn’t sit right with me.”
“What wrong with it?” Jasmine asked curiously.
“Well, if you look pass the tree line….I don’t know it might be a shadow effect.”
“Shadow effect?” Jasmine asked as she looked up into the cloudy skies. “The sun isn’t out, sweetie.”
“ATTENTION SENIOR CLASS!” Linda yelled through a megaphone. “IT”S TIME FOR THE DARK FOREST ESCAPE! PLEASE MEET ME IN TEN MINUTES AT THE FRONT OF THE GREAT MONTANA FOREST IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PLAY!”
“Oh! Let’s go!” Jasmine insisted excitedly. She grabbed Nathan’s arm and began dragging him back towards The Great Montana Forest for the game. Nathan smiled and trudged along behind her. He took a glance back at the tall trees and found no shadow figures lurking around them. He shrugged his shoulders at the thought of the picture and continued to follow Jasmine all the way down the hill.
“Alright Seniors, are you ready for a fun filled and adventurous game?!” Linda asked in her utmost excited voice yet. There were only fifteen out of the fifty-two seniors who came out to participate in the game. The majority of the fifteen were nerds including Bryan. David and Chace decided to participate which almost made Nathan not want to. But Jasmine convinced Nathan into competing so he stayed.
Linda had the fifteen seniors write their name on pieces of paper and place them in a jar. She placed her hand into the jar and pulled out two pieces of paper and read them out loud. “Can I please have Nathan and Jared in front of me please?” She asked politely.
Nathan sighed and calmly walked up to Linda with Jared, one of the football players, trailing behind him. The two stopped in front of Linda’s grinning face and stared at her blankly awaiting for her instructions.
“Okay guys, the rules are simple.” She began. “The two of you will race to the end of the forest where some of our park instructors will be waiting. While you are in the forest, you will need to pick up three red flags placed around the obstacle course. You two will only have forty-five minutes to complete the course until someone comes in to get you. Are you guys ready?!” Nathan and Jared looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. “Alright! On three. One….two….three!”
Nathan and Jared both dashed into the thick woods of the park. At first the two of them were right beside each other. But after a few twists and turns of the path they both lost each other. Nathan ran up to his first obstacle which was simply a giant climbing wall that blocked the path. He jumped onto the wall without any hesitation and climbed over it in a blink of an eye.
He dropped down to his feet and continued running. He saw the red flag a few feet ahead of him and grabbed it as he passed. He tucked the flag deep into his pocket and pressed on. He looked towards his left and saw that Jared was running alongside of him through the trees.
Nathan greedily ran faster and faster.
He could see the second obstacle coming up ahead of him.
“This is too easy.” He said to himself as he jumped over a log in the middle of the path. After leaping over the log he continued onto the second obstacle until he felt a sharp pain ringing through the shins of his knees. Nathan toppled over to the ground and rolled over in agony. The strike of the sharp pain began to become rhythmic as Nathan quickly noticed that it was a muscular teen bashing his legs with a giant log.
The teen was tall with black hair just like Nathan himself. That was about all Nathan could make out before the tall teen smacked the log across his face causing him black out…
His hands were tied behind his back.
Nathan knew that much about his current situation. His eyes felt heavy and couldn’t open all the way but the feeling in his body had come back to him. He could feel the tightly knotted rope digging into his skin as he tried to free himself. He could also feel the surges of pain with every inch that he moved. The burn from the rope was nothing compared to the pain running through his legs. Nathan tried to cry out but his voice was muffled by what tasted like a dirty rag in his mouth. The sour taste of the cloth ran down his throat and made him gag. The cloth was kept in place by a large piece of duct tape placed across his stuffed mouth. Unintended tears began streaming down Nathan’s face.
“Is this really happening?” Nathan thought to himself.
“Yes. This is really happening.” A voice similar to Nathan’s answered. Nathan jumped up from the cold floor that he was sitting on and attempted to open his eyes. He could only get one eyelid open enough to see the tall muscular teen staring back at him with an expressionless face. “It’s funny how our kind works, isn’t it brother?”
Nathan’s breathing became heavy as he made out the details of the teen kneeling in front of him. It was like staring into a mirror. The teen had Nathan’s blue eyes, jet black hair, same muscle tone including the chiseled jaw line, same tanned skin and everything. Nathan couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He began mumbling something that the other teen couldn’t make out. The teen ripped the piece of tape from Nathan’s face and removed the dirty rag.
“Who…who the hell are you?!” Nathan screamed out. His voice echoed through what sounded like an underground tunnel.
“Nathan! I’m hurt!” The teen shouted as he placed his hand over his chest. “You mean to tell me all this time Mom and Dad never told you about me?”
“What the hell are you talking about?!”
“What a shame.” The teen lifted himself from his crouched position and began walking back towards a balcony. As the hearing slowly came back to Nathan’s ears he could hear the soft ripples of water in front of him. “Well I guess it’ll make sense to tell you my name seeing that you’re going to be here for awhile….” The teen turned to face Nathan again but this time he had a sinister smile on his face that told of nothing but pure evil. “My name is Avery Belford, your twin brother.”
“I’m an only child idiot!” Nathan spat. Avery chuckled lightly at the comment.
“Is that what they’ve been telling you for these past years?” Nathan went quiet and didn’t answer. “Tell me something, Nathan, have you ever asked mom and dad about how you were born?”
“Quit calling my parents your mom and dad!” Nathan demanded. “I don’t even know who the hell you are!”
“Well I just told you, Nathan.” Avery said with a serious tone. “I really don’t like repeating myself.”
“Fucking psychopath! Let me go!”
Avery’s eyes went wide with shock and anger. He briskly walked over to Nathan and picked up a crowbar that sat beside his leg. He gripped it in his hand and swung the crowbar across Nathan’s face, knocking out of two of his back teeth. Nathan spat the blood covered teeth out of his mouth and cried out in pain. Avery placed the curved part of the crowbar under Nathan’s neck and lifted his face upwards.
“Don’t ever call me a psychopath.” Avery warned. “You’ll find yourself dead quicker than planned, brother.”
“Wh…why do you keep calling me your brother?” Nathan sobbed in pain. “I don’t even know you.”
“And whose fault is that?” Avery asked sarcastically. “Mom and Dad always liked you more than me…that’s why they sent me away.”
“What are you talking about?”
“FIFTEEN YEARS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, BROTHER!!” Avery boomed as he rushed towards Nathan and placed his face extremely close to his. “Fifteen years in a damn psychiatric home waiting for someone, ANYONE, to come and visit me!”
“Psychiatric home…?” Nathan whispered as he thought back to when he and the gang were sitting in the lunch room. “You…”
“That’s right, brother.” Avery assured. “I’m the escaped prisoner of that psychiatric home.”
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